UX determines whether visitors stay or bounce, even if you have exactly what they are looking for, be it information, products or services. Use these five principles to guide your website development to increase traffic, improve sessions, and reduce bounce rates.
Appear in search
With each platform using its own ever-changing algorithm, there is some uncertainty associated with SEO. It certainly can look like a moving target.
A universal strategy for keeping your website at the top of your most important keywords is to dedicate time and resources to regular maintenance, especially when it comes to updating content. Search engines recognize when newsrooms, blogs, FAQs and similar pages are updated. They add these factors into their equation when determining search ranking.
Likewise, don’t assume that visitors always start on your homepage. Search results can be very specific, so making every page an entry point simplifies the user experience and minimizes friction. People also prefer to scroll rather than click, that’s why window blinds and jump menus are better
Help visitors find what they need
Visitors come to a site to fulfill a purpose, not to hear a sales pitch up front. Reduce sales messages and make it an enjoyable experience for visitors to go where they want at their own pace, while showing off your strengths.
Structure content and navigation around your visitors’ challenges and needs, for example, rather than solutions or products. Display your industry knowledge and expertise with meaningful section titles and headings. Avoid sales pitches and show leadership around a topic or industry.
An emerging trend to also consider is the use of fixed navigation menus. Giving visitors a fixed menu when scrolling allows for faster navigation, but can also negatively impact content presentation, especially for mobile users. A good rule of thumb is to use a sticky menu only if you have a longer landing page and when the menu offers links to critical products and services.
Provide content for various needs
Visitors’ position in the buying cycle, as well as their personal preferences, will indicate the types of content they are looking for. Some may prefer a quick video while others want an in-depth written analysis. By providing three or more content formats, especially on top-level pages, you’re almost guaranteed to hit the mark with most visitors. These include:
Provide videos for assets such as case studies, testimonials, explanations and corporate values.
Creation of interactive content to entice visitors to play with a widget, customize a solution, or try out an ROI calculator.
Offer written content it’s compelling and numbers-driven (if possible) – both on the page and as a download so users can copy and paste into their research.
Creatively capture leads
Everyone understands: the main purpose of a website is to generate and capture leads. You know it, and so do visitors. However, letting lead generation drive the user experience won’t provide you with the quality sales goals you’re looking to achieve. This becomes even more real as we prepare for the demise of the third-party cookie; the use of the data held will be an imperative in the years to come.
An example of what not to do: overuse of multiple pop-up chat windows or “want to know more?” forms. While businesses may think they’re helpful or establishing a direct line of communication, visitors who want to know more will ask.
Likewise, you don’t need to lock down every piece of content on your website, especially sales materials, case studies, or videos. Forms create friction within the user experience, and studies show that conversion rates drop dramatically with each additional field. Save blocking for educational or genuinely useful content.
Launch, Learn, Modify
It’s right to be proud of your website and it’s important to recognize all the time, energy and effort that went into creating it. Save those celebrations for your business, though, because long build cycles and big, splashy launches are so old.
Today, get started quickly with top-level pages built and evolving over time as you learn what content visitors engage with the most. Instead of building every page from scratch, agree on a minimum viable site and set internal stakeholder expectations accordingly. Select a few meaningful and actionable metrics to track site performance and keep your back-end flexible so it can be easily changed or undone as needed, from content to navigation and layout.
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